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Blackpool Service user Group.


I have to say that as I sit and write this I am extremely proud to be a part of the change that is occurring in Substance Misuse Services and for service users in Blackpool. I myself am an ex service user of twenty years plus – with a history of thirty-one years substance misuse, today I have two years clean time under my belt. Twelve months ago i found myself in a very fortunate position and I firmly believe that I was in the right place, at the right time, and for the right reasons, I met the right people also. Myself and other service / ex-service users were given the opportunity to set up a service user group for people with substance misuse issues in Blackpool and to help make a difference and help point out the flaws and also the quality's that providers and services have. What areas they lack in and how they could be improved, what areas they are good in how they could  be made even better.


So far it has been an amazing ride and such a positive experience. The service user group is reaching places and opening doors never before heard of, we are already noticing changes, slight they may be, but changes never the less, in the treatment system of Substance Misuse Services and the way it is being delivered. We have to remember that Rome wasn't built in a day – but one thing is for sure, the service user group and service user involvement will be instrumental in the changes that will be made and implemented over the coming years.


This is not having a dig at service providers or agency's in anyway,  it would be wrong of me to start slagging anyone off – they have all indeed played a part in where I am today – but – they don't get it right all of the time –  but they also don't get it wrong all of the time either, and that is where the service user group and service user involvement comes in to play - although it may be a bitter pill to swallow for some - the professionals are now asking the the experts – Us – service users / ex service users for ways and advice on how to improve the service they offer and provide. If you put it in these terms its quite simple to understand, if your car broke down  would you call a joiner to come and fix it? No - you would call a mechanic, so who better to ask or consult in this particular field than a recovering addict or service user still engaged in services.


We have a wealth of experience and knowledge around what works well and what doesn't work well, what's good and what's not so good and for the first time in the history of Substance Misuse Services we are being asked and listened to for ways to improve the current treatment system. The object of the game is this – though I shouldn't call it a game as it's far from a game – it's just how I word things sometimes - so stay with me on this one, the object is this – to help re create the current treatment system we have in place and to help get service users on the road to recovery and out of services full stop – the days of multiple detoxes and residential rehab's  are soon to be a distant memory – but that can only be a good thing surely – why would you want to be in and out of treatment centres – prisons – cdt's – tied to the chemist for the next 20 years? Trust me - it's not something anyone should look forward to.


Recovery had never been an option for me in the past – it was all about maintenance and crime reduction - which over the years has finally proved that that way doesn't really work – alls that did was keep people trapped in the madness of addiction -  finally substance misuse services and the powers that be have woke up and smelt the coffee. They have now recognised and identified this and finally moved in to the 21st century and are consulting service users / ex service users on the way forward. And at the highest level too.


I come from a place where I was a hopeless addict – a lost cause even – and have landed in a very special place where I can be a part of the solution and not the problem. “ Amazing” If you have got to the end and are reading this last part then your obviously interested in what I have had to say – so don't leave it there – get yourself involved with the service user group and help make a difference in the life's of all service users. We have monthly meetings the last Thursday of each month and we'd like your input – stay tuned in to this site for regular updates on what's going on in Blackpool.





Hi everyone my name is Colin and i'm a recovering addict.

I had a bad experience today and this is what i think of the people and their comments.

Theres far too many people out there who are only too happy and quick too stick a label on someone and then sit in their idealistic ivory tower judging them,  i have to point out everyone is different, we are in recovery for gods sake, changing everyday to make our lives better for everyone concerned and putting something back into the community, so why do the people in their ivory towers stick the stereotype label on our backs. I think they should take a long look in the mirror, and ask there selves this question "have i been through life without making a mistake" we all know the answer to that one "NO". Get off your high horses and look at the world with different eyes you may see more than you think. 

We are not what we were in our using day's, we are better people for being clean so don't judge for what we were, judge us for what we are now  and you will see we have turned our lifes around for the better.

He who has not made a mistake can throw the first stone.  

My personal experience of 12 step recovery in the fellowship of Narcotics Anonymous.

 Hi readers, my name is Kevin and I am a recovering addict, 48 years of age, I am also one of the people who helped set Blackpool service user group up 10 months ago, something which I am extremely proud to be a part of, it started with just a few people sat round a table with a vision and a passion for change and has gone from strength to strength,

I was privileged to take part in the first wave of peer mentioning training that took place recently. I had already undergone a course covering some of the material once before but it was good to refresh my memory and learn some new things things along the way. The course also provided an opportunity for discussion on each area that we covered such as the tier system or more contentious issues like drug laws the floor was open for students to communicate anything that was on their mind around the subjects.

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